Owned vs Managed Video Surveillance System for Apartments

December 28th, 2022 | By SentriForce
Owned vs Managed Video Surveillance System for Apartments

The Importance of Having Video Surveillance Security in Apartments

Security cameras and video surveillance systems on a multifamily property help to deter crime, recoup damages, and provide peace of mind for residents and guests. However, video surveillance is typically an afterthought for apartments and a response to criminal activities in their community.

While we all wish it were different, most multifamily communities do not want to make an investment in video surveillance security until after they experience loss of tenants, property damages, bad reviews, and increasing vacancies.

A significant reason for this is that buying and owning a security camera system has a large up-front cost for installation and on-going costs for maintenance and operations.

Is there a better solution? YES.

What is a managed video surveillance system?

Unlike an owned video surveillance system that is purchased to own, a managed video surveillance system is a service that is paid for monthly.

The service provider deploys their video surveillance equipment on the property and takes responsibility for installing, maintaining, repairing, and operating the video surveillance system.

Whether it is cleaning dirty camera lenses, replacing parts that have broken down over time, or updating the technology, the service provider is responsible.

Compared to privately owned video surveillance systems, a managed system has more reliability and works when you need it.

Managed video surveillance systems typically require a long-term commitment. If long-term commitments are unappealing, the idea of owning a video surveillance system should be avoided.

What are the pros of a managed video surveillance system?

Professional installation

The service provider is responsible for ensuring the deployment and installation of the system. This gives you the assurance that no components are loose or unsecured. The camera views are set in the best positions to maximize coverage and capture important details.

When a managed video surveillance provider sends one of their technicians out for an installation, that technician knows everything about the system he or she is about to install. Working with the same equipment frequently makes for a quick and quality job.

System maintenance

Outdoor video systems operating 24/7 for months and years are bound by weather and age. Component failure can happen, and if you own the system yourself, you will be paying out of pocket. A managed surveillance system will often include both routine system maintenance and component repair from normal use. Having technical support available helps you minimize downtime and maximize the value of your system.

Video investigation

A managed system will often offer or include video investigation, also known as video review. Video investigation is the investigation of an incident that is captured in camera view and retrieval of video. You will have access to a team of professional video investigators who will gather the requested information, review hours or days of footage to find the desired activity, and download the footage for company or police evidence. This allows apartment managers to focus on the management of the community rather than operating the video surveillance system.

What are the pros of an owned video surveillance system?

Pay for what you want.

Good surveillance systems are expensive, but necessary. By purchasing your own equipment, you choose what aspects of the system you want your money to go towards. A managed system will be bundled with services, while when you build your own system, you only have to worry about the hardware and installation costs. Some systems may have cloud recording capabilities that will have their own plans, so be sure to do your research when picking your network video recorder.

Learn the system.

If you own the system, you will need to hire a surveillance system technician or train someone to learn it inside and out. This gives you the option of being fully in control of things like changing system configurations, camera picture settings, adjusting record schedules to maximize your storage, or frequently adjusting camera views.

You are in control.

Most camera systems are sold separately, with each component sold separately. This gives you the freedom to choose the type of camera and how many you want, how much storage you need, what recorder is right for you, and what features you need. Building your own system lets you make all the decisions for yourself.


When it comes to security, anything is better than nothing. Whether it is an owned system or a managed system, either one will be a good addition to your overall security plan.

While both owned and managed video surveillance systems have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, managed systems may be the better option for multifamily properties. One of the main benefits of managed systems is the professional monitoring and maintenance provided by the security provider. This can give building owners and residents peace of mind, knowing that there is a team of professionals managing the cameras and responding to any issues that may arise. Managed systems may also be more cost-effective in the long run because the building owner or management company does not have to worry about the cameras’ long-term maintenance. Ultimately, the decision between an owned and managed video surveillance system will depend on the specific needs and budget of the apartment building, but many find that managed systems are the more practical and cost-effective option.

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